This recording is a project I have been working on for quite some time, seeking to answer the question, “How can we know the Bible is the word of God?”
Transcript of The Dividing Line. March 6, 2018 at the 9:00 minute mark, Dr. James White.
“I believe very, very strongly that the central act of worship of the Church is the full and careful and balanced ministry of the word of God to the people of God, gathered together to hear what God has to say. So meaningful, sound, solid exegesis – everything we do before and after – if there is anything after – is simply meant to heighten and to prepare us, to put us in the proper frame of mind to be obedient and to have hearing ears. Anything that we put into that worship service that closes our ears, distracts us, in any way shuts down our ability to hear the word is wrong – it is going the wrong direction. And the most important thing that a shepherd of the sheep can do is to faithfully communicate not just the part of the message you think is all fire important but if you really believe that all scripture (not just some) but all scripture is theopneustos (God breathed) then you need to deliver all of it… all of it. And that means covering some stuff that ain’t going to make people see gold-dust coming out of the ceiling. I mean there is some tough stuff to handle – there is some difficult stuff in there. And that means there are going to be services that are highly instructional, there are going to be services that are incredibly uplifting, there are going to be services that do bring you into the very presence of God in heaven and there are others that absolutely smack you down into the dirt, when you realize how much of God’s grace you take for granted, and how few of the duties are ours we actually pursue with the proper zeal of redeemed people. In other words, it is going to be balanced. And the balance is determined not by us but by what is found in the Scriptures given to us by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit – that canon of Scripture God has given to us – that… that is where our balance is to be found.”
Pastor John Samson
Here at King’s Church we recommend the New American Standard Bible (NASB) and it is the one most frequently used in our services. I say this for two main reasons; the first being that it can be very confusing if we have the different words in front of us in our Bibles as the sermon is being preached. This can be very alarming for new Christians who are not aware of the issues and see a text in front of them that is sometimes quite different from what the preacher is using.
Decades ago, there was only one real Bible version of choice, the King James Version. History tells us that it was actually the Geneva Bible, with its Reformation based explanatory study notes, that was the very first Bible to come over to the shores of America on the Mayflower. However, the growing popularity of the KJV eventually made seeing the Geneva Bible a rare event in church services and homes.
The King James Version is certainly an excellent translation which has served the church for many generations. However, the meaning of words have changed a great deal in the centuries since the first printing of the KJV in 1611. Many preachers (me included) found that when using it, much time was required in a sermon to update and explain the archaic language used. A newer translation removes the need for this.
In addition to the archaic language of the KJV, what we know of the original text and languages has improved significantly in the last 400 years or so. The Church in our day has needed a Bible translation which reflects this great advancement in scholarship.
In some church services, there can be as many as 10 to 15 different versions in use. Of course, people can use any translation they like. They are definitely free to do so! Yet I think it is very helpful for pastors and elders to recommend one main translation to eliminate any potential confusion for a congregation.
With this as a foundation, the next question we need to ask is “which is the best Bible to use?”
This leads me to talk about the second reason for choosing the NASB. It stems from the desire to have an essentially literal translation (a “word for word” translation) in use rather than a dynamic equivalent, or “thought for thought” one. The primary advantage in choosing a “word for word” translation is that it gives us confidence that what we read in our Bibles are the equivalent English words for what the authors actually wrote. There is no need to wonder at every point where translation ends and subjective, personal commentary begins or if important material might be omitted from the original.
Certainly, there are other excellent translations out there. For years I have used the English Standard Version (ESV) which is a wonderful translation. However, a choice needed to be made and it is the NASB that is our Bible of choice here at King’s Church.
ENDORSEMENTS OF THE NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE
“The New American Standard Bible has set the standard for faithful Bible translations for a generation. It is the favorite of so many who love the Bible and look for accuracy and clarity in translation. The New American Standard Bible should be close at hand for any serious student of the Bible. I thank God for this faithful translation.” – Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., President, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“The NASB is an excellent translation that seeks the closest possible verbal equivalency.” – Dr. R. C. Sproul
“Better than any other English translation, the Updated NASB represents the writings of the original Hebrew and Greek authors. For private study and public readings, it’s unsurpassed!” – Bruce A. Ware. Ph.D., Associate Dean, School of Theology, Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY
“The NASB is ‘my’ Bible, the finest and clearest of translations for inductive study. You can be sure this is the translation I recommend above all others.” – Kay Arthur, Co-Founder, Precept Ministries International
“Among the wide variety of English Bibles available to readers in our generation, the NASB offers the most literal translation of the text of the originals. It blends accurate scholarship with devotion and the end product is one that both informs the mind at the same time as causing the Christian to rejoice. It certainly is worthy of a place on the bookshelf of every Christian.” – Dr. Robert M. Norris, Senior Pastor, Fourth Presbyterian Church, Bethesda, Maryland
“In a time when there are so many translations to choose from, it is a joy to know that there is one that you know is accurate and readable. As I prepare for messages, I find without fail that the NASB has accurately and clearly translated the word or the text. It is the translation I recommend to all who ask.” – Pastor Randall Morton, First Evangelical Church of Greenville, South Carolina
“As a preacher, it is my desire to present the Word of God as accurately as possible to my people. The New American Standard’s word-for-word translation helps me greatly in achieving that task. With the NASB, I can proclaim, ‘The Bible says…’ with confidence.” – Rev. Bob Hurd. Pastor, Beacon Baptist Church, New Orleans, LA
The Bible does not merely show sinners to be undeserving, but as ill-deserving. So often we are inclined to think of ourselves, prior to our salvation, as in some sense “neutral” in the sight of God. We are willing to admit that we have done nothing to deserve His favor, but this is entirely insufficient as a background to the understanding of divine grace. It is not simply that we do not deserve grace: we do deserve hell!
Grace is stripped of its meaning when it is merely thought of as a “good business decision” on God’s part. I am referring here to the mistaken idea that God saw our “worth” and decided that the high price was indeed right, and that He would pay the necessary expense to bring us safely to heaven. No, a thousand times, no! That’s not grace at all. That’s just a good business deal!
Grace is seen in this – while we were wretches; while we were sinners, shaking our fists at God, hating God, defying God in thought, word and deed – every single one of us; God did something ridiculous – paying an outlandish and scandalous price to redeem us (the blood of His beloved Son). This was not because He calculated it all out and thought it was a good investment on His part; that we were “worth it.” No, God was motivated by His radical, amazing, abundant and all conquering love alone, as He set about saving a people for Himself. There was nothing of intrinsic worth in the creatures He redeemed. Any worth we had was entirely borrowed from the God who made us in His image.
I find that all of us really need to get this in our bloodstream, so to speak, before grace can be fully appreciated. At times, we are far too quick to talk of God’s remedy for sin before we have described and firmly established our terrible plight before a holy and just God. Fallen humanity is not to be thought of as merely helpless, but as openly hostile toward God. It is one thing to be without a God-approved righteousness. It is altogether another thing to be wholly unrighteous and deserving of divine wrath. It is, then, against the background of having been at one time the enemies of God that divine grace is to be portrayed, for “while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son” (Rom. 5:10).
Grace is sovereign and free. Although God is gracious in His eternal being, He need not be gracious or shower His grace upon anyone. Think about it – though many angels had fallen into sin, no plan was ever initiated to rescue even one of these angels from the fierce wrath of God. Yet, the angels of God surrounding the throne are still singing “holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts. The whole earth is full of His glory.” In the heavenly courts, there is not even a hint of injustice in any of this. Why? Because God is never obligated to show mercy to any of His creatures. No injustice takes place when justice is administrated! If God was ever obliged to show mercy, we would not be speaking of mercy at all, but of justice.
Grace is not to be thought of as in any sense dependent upon our merit or demerit. This may be expressed in two ways. As said above, in the first place, grace stops being grace if God is compelled to give it. But more than this, grace treats a person without the slightest reference to merit whatsoever, but solely according to the good pleasure of God. Since grace is a gift, no work is to be performed, no offering made, to repay God for His favor.
(1/21/18) – Medical science informs us that the events surrounding a baby’s birth is a key factor in a child’s development. A long, drawn out, painful and complicated birth can have a lasting negative impact and that is why it is vital that much attention is given to provide a safe, healthy process and environment for a baby. When it comes to spiritual birth into the kingdom of God, how can we make sure the new baby is off to a good start in its new life in Christ? What does a NORMAL Christian birth look like? If we could standardize the process, what things would we put in place?
I received an email today asking me about why I started King’s Church, especially knowing it would be a very small start up situation. I will edit some of what they wrote so that they are not identified in any way, but they are wondering about their own situation and whether or not a new Church should be started near them.
They wrote: You mentioned (in a Dividing Line teaching) that King’s Church began in your home. I am wondering if you have any link to a testimony you have given as to why King’s Church began in your home. Was there a need for it? A church plant from another church?
No, I don’t have a link to any testimony regarding starting King’s Church.
Need? Well there is always the need for sound, biblical churches in any locality, and of course, there is biblical precedent for a church to meet in a house (Rom. 16:5; Col. 4:15), but the reason King’s Church started was just a burning and lasting conviction (for more than a year) that this is what I should do. In a nutshell, I felt starting the Church was “the call of God” on my life.
It is vital that this is in place in the heart and mind of the pastor. I cannot stress that enough. If the man can live his life without doing this, he should not start the Church.
There is no doubt the enemy will not leave a biblically sound church alone but will seek its destruction for sure. That is true, no matter what the size, but a small church starting can easily be hit by even a few people leaving. The winds and waves can be strong and even severe at times. There needs to be a long term commitment from the pastor that this is his life’s work – he is not there to merely “try” this, or to see if it works… he is there for the rest of his life (if needed) to establish this – BECAUSE HE CANNOT SLEEP AT NIGHT IF HE DOES NOT DO THIS!
Then there needs to be a life that backs that commitment up. Just about everything in life starts small and as a seed. Scripture says “Do not despise the day of small things.” (Zech. 4:10) We are told this for the simple reason that it is VERY easy to do exactly that – despise something that is small. This is especially true in the U.S.A. when so much is measured by its size. Lets always remember though, a large oak tree is simply an acorn that held its ground.
The call of God to pastor and specifically to start a church is difficult to explain and very subjective (I realize) – but in my own case, this conviction only seemed to grow over time and I felt it was confirmed by other pastors both locally and far away who provided much encouragement for me to do so. I think that is important. Many believe they have gifts suited for a task but it is the Body of Christ who can confirm whether this is true or whether someone is self-deceived. By way of analogy, in a worldly setting, a lot of people think they are amazing singers, only to be exposed on “American Idol” as having a “talent” the Lord wouldn’t mind them burying.
Bear in mind too that I had decades of pastoral experience both in the UK and here, specifically in start up churches, so this proposed new venture would be done with my eyes wide open, so to speak – knowing some of the hardships and issues we may well encounter before we began.
While we were not a church plant, I was assured that other pastors would be behind me, at least in prayer, so I would not be on my own. It would be the best scenario if we were a church plant, and had access to resources beyond our own, but such was not the case. But at least I could get good advice from fellow pastors. They also expressed their willingness for me to talk with them at any time.
I say this because I don’t think it is wise to be totally on your own in starting a Church. The road is never an easy one, and it is imperative to have others you can turn to for advice along the way.
I hope something in what is above can be helpful to you.
(I received this reply)
“Absolutely helpful! Praise God and thank you…”
The King James Version of the Bible is an excellent translation. There is so much about it to be commended. It was the first Bible I ever had and I am indeed glad for that. However, it is not the only version one should ever use. We have learned much about the original Hebrew and Greek of the Bible since the 17th century and these insights have shaped many of the modern translations, helping us understand the original words God inspired. Just saying this is anathema to some people caught up in what is called ‘King James Only’.
I very much appreciate Pastor Tim Conway’s teaching here (below). This is a controversy that has caused untold damage and division in so many friendships and families and very sadly, has even split entire churches. He addresses this vital issue in terms that hopefully all can follow. – Pastor John Samson
Grace Community Church’s website (gccsatx.com) reads: “Many adamantly hold to the ‘KJV Only’ as being the only translation of the Bible to use. It seems that constantly new believers are running into this question and wrestling with the evidence of whether it is a valid argument or not. In this Bible Study Tim seeks to put forward the evidence that convinced him that the ‘KJV Only’ position is not a stance that is being faithful to the evidence.
It is because of emails that we have received, like the following, that it was apparent there was a need to put something up on the KJV Only controversy. For example, at the beginning of 2012 someone emailed in saying:
“Exactly what part of “ANYONE WHO ADDS OR TAKES AWAY FROM THIS BOOK” DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND? IT IS INDEED NO different than “WHICH PART OF THE WORD “NO” DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND???? I was at a loss as to why almost everyone was reading from every other so called new and improved versions of the bible. All Reading from any and every other version EXCEPT the true Old King James……Why Why why would you want to change God’s word to suit the brethren. It ought to be rather, The brethren adapting to the grand language of the Old King James not all changing the word to suit the brethren !!!! The old King James Version has the SALT. All the rest are simply put…without SALT. I am just shocked though I know Our King of King’s Christ Jesus says I should think it strange. Go ahead brethren. GO ON… explain away. Many others will be led astray by you and yours. I am grateful to God evermore I remain wide awake.”
Two years later this same person emailed back saying:
“I have repented to God & have ceased from my ridiculous King James only attitude. I greatly appreciate your sermons & wish to apologize for my previous high minded opinionated foolishness. I hope you can graciously forgive me for lashing out the way I did.”
Our desire, as Tim says at the start of the study, is not to take away from God’s Word, but to see people, like the person above, come to recognize that the evidence does not support the KJV 1611 as being the only translation we should use.”
Everything God’s people Israel had received by way of revelation, pointed to Him… and yet, we read, “his own people did not receive him.” (John 1:11)
What an indictment that is!
How on earth did the very people awaiting the arrival of the Messiah, miss Him when he came?
Jesus, in John 5:39,40 declared, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.”
After the resurrection – Jesus encountered two very despondent disciples on the road to Emmaus. They were struggling to make sense of all that had taken place in Jerusalem…
Luke 24: 25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
Later on, He appeared to His disciples:
In Luke 24:44, 45 He talked about “everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures…”
Again, how did they miss Him, when He is the main subject matter of the Old Covenant?
WHO IS THIS JESUS?
In Genesis … He is the Lord God who formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed the breath of life into him;
the One who walked in the garden with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day;
He is the Seed of the Woman;
He is Noah’s ark of refuge;
He is a priest in the order of Melchizedek
He is Abraham’s ram caught in the thicket;
He is the King in royal Judah’s line…
In Exodus… He is the One calling out from the burning bush – the great I AM;
He is the Passover Lamb;
and the Rock which followed His people in the wilderness.
In Leviticus… He is the Tabernacle;
He is the Altar; the Great High Priest, and the Lamb for Sacrifice.
In Numbers… He is the brazen serpent lifted up for the healing of all who will look to Him;
He is the Tabernacle’s cloud by day, and pillar of fire by night.
In Deuteronomy… He is the Prophet like unto Moses.
In Joshua … He is Lord of heaven’s armies, the Captain of our Salvation.
Judges … He is the angel of the Lord; our Judge and Law-Giver.
Ruth … He is our Kinsman Redeemer.
1 & 2 Samuel … He is our trusted Prophet who sits on David’s throne forever.
Kings & Chronicles … He is our reigning King; one greater than even Solomon.
Ezra … He is the Faithful scribe.
Nehemiah … He is the Restorer of broken walls.
Esther … He is our Advocate Mordecai.
Job … He is our Ever-Living Redeemer who will take His stand upon the earth.
Psalms … He is the Lord our Shepherd.
Proverbs … He is our Wisdom.
Ecclesiastes … He is our sure Hope of Resurrection when all else is vanity and futility.
Song of Songs … He is our loving Bridegroom.
Isaiah … He is born of the virgin, He is Immanuel;
the Lord of glory, high and lifted up in the Temple;
the wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace.
the suffering Servant of Yahweh;
the sin bearing Savior – wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, the punishment due to us was upon Him and by whose stripes we are healed;
cut off from the land of the living, stricken for God’s elect people;
yet will be resurrected and live forever
Jeremiah … He is the Righteous Branch; the Lord our Righteousness.
Lamentations … He is our Weeping Prophet.
Ezekiel … He is the Son of man.
Daniel … He is the fourth man in the fiery furnace; the Ancient of Days, the One who comes in the clouds of heaven.
Hosea … He is the Faithful Husband.
Joel … He is the One who baptizes with the Holy Spirit and fire.
Amos … He is our burden bearer.
Obadiah … He is Mighty to Save.
Jonah … He is our great foreign Missionary; the One who will be three days and nights in the belly of the earth.
Micah … He is the eternal ruler of Israel, born in Bethlehem.
Nahum … He is the avenger of God’s elect, our Stronghold in the day of trouble.
Habakkuk … He is the Great Evangelist
Zephaniah … He is the Restorer of the Remnant
Haggai … He is the desire of all nations, the cleansing Fountain.
Zechariah … He is our humble King riding on a colt; the pierced One, wounded in the house of His friends.
Malachi … Jesus is the Sun of Righteousness, risen with healing in His wings.
Question: Pastor John, what are the marks of a true church? I have heard people say there are three: 1. The preaching of the gospel takes place. 2. The sacraments are rightly administered. 3. Church discipline is exercised. Read more